Twelfth Man: Bradman calls a foot fault

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SIR DONALD BRADMAN, in what increasingly appears to be his last quest, will be making a submission by video at the inaugural umpires' conference this summer advocating a return to the back-foot no-ball law.

Bradman, now 84, is a firm opponent of the front-foot law, brought in three decades ago to prevent players like Australia's Gordon Rorke 'dragging' their back foot to deliver the ball from about 19 yards.

He warms up for the conference, at Edgbaston in August, in this month's Wisden Cricket Monthly in which he describes the law as 'a disaster' and a 'dismal failure' which 'places an intolerable burden on umpires' and is 'hated' by players and spectators. Bradman also points out he called for the 'third umpire' system for run- outs seven years ago. It has been suggested that the reason most of Bradman's proposed changes over the years have favoured bowlers is to help keep his records intact. 'Hardly necessary' might be the retort.

GIVEN their enthusiasm for a fast buck maybe the Test and County Cricket Board's marketing department will take advantage of the demand for cricketing beefcake revealed, along with much else, by Chris Lewis's centrefold appearance in the soft-porn For Women magazine. One of Australia's best- selling calendars over the past three years has been Men of League, which consists of moody black-and- white shots of such stars as Mal Meninga, Andrew Ettingshausen and Wally Lewis draped over silk sheets or in the shower.

Otherwise Lewis's example could lead to a flood of similar individual offers with Pork Farmers' Monthly approaching Mike Gatting and Greenpeace lining up Eddie Hemmings for a poster campaign. A bottle of Aberlour whisky goes to the most inventive modelling suggestion. Add a photo and we might make it a crate.

THIS week's bottle goes to Geoff Morley of Harrow, for the following limerick:

'Replace ME?' said Gooch. 'Blasted gall]

Just watch - I can handle it all.

I can handle the press]

I can handle the stress]'

Then, sadly, he handled the ball.

An honourable mention to Ken Hedger of York for: As Hick left the wicket, defeated,

To Merv Hughes' farewell he was treated,

With a scowl to freeze Dracula,

In the vernacular,

'Now dollars %&*]'(expletive deleted).

WITH everyone at Essex either being promoted to play for England or dropped for 'internal reasons' the home dressing-room at Chelmsford resembles that on the set of Ben Hur, but one peg remains faithful to its original owner, that of Mike Garnham, the only player to have represented Essex in every game.

Paul Pollard is a similar fixture at Trent Bridge where he has had 18 different team-mates this season. Yorkshire and Gloucestershire have also used 19 men each while Glamorgan make do with just 14, six of whom have yet to miss a game.

A final statistic before you fall asleep: the appearances on Thursday of Lancashire's Gary Yates and Somerset's Ian Fletcher means 307 players have represented the 18 counties so far. That rather adds substance to the suggestion that there are too many players earning a living from cricket, even if for some that living is a meagre one.

SATURDAY SURFIE - NO 5: Oz Press. A once powerful creature, the Australian touring newspaper corps is now a skeletal figure consisting of just five print journos with none from once mighty New South Wales. Australia's own recession and cost-cutting in the Murdoch empire has trimmed the corps to a handful compared to the English hack-pack which was more than 30 strong at the last Sydney Ashes Test.

The more restrained nature of the Australian tabloids means Oz Press is a more docile animal but can be vicious when roused, incurring libel actions from Bob Simpson and four umpires in recent years.

It spends most of the day discussing the fortunes of various Aussie Rules footy sides, complaining about the size of English hotel rooms and bemoaning (with a gloating smile) the difficulty of writing 'Poms bashed again' stories every day. It was another tough day yesterday.